New Tricks: The Crazy Gang. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7.5/10

Cast: Denis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Tamzin Outhwaite, Larry Lamb, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Anthony Calf, Geraldine Somerville, Meera Syal, Lorraine Ashbourne, Peter Bramhill, Zara White, Sarah-Jane Potts.

It is perhaps a shame that the biggest case that U.C.O.S. will never have will be finding out the assailant at B.B.C. who decided that New Tricks had run its course and left to linger a death on a Tuesday night with a knife in its back that was unbecoming of such a widely appreciated and at times un-missable television.

Instead of sending Tamzin Outhwaite’s D.C.I. Sasha Miller out with a bang and aided by her three companions, the slow whimper of a series had finally run out of juice to retaliate against the Corporation’s lack of faith in the detective programme and the glory that had paraded itself in fine story telling clothes with many highs attributed to Amanda Redman, the great Dennis Waterman, James Bolam, Alan Armstrong, Anthony Calf, the significantly valued Ms. Outhwaite, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Larry Lamb and Denis Lawson all leaving their own mark on what has been one of the great productions by the B.B.C. in the last 20 years.

The final episode, The Crazy Gang, reflected the winding down that had been coming, like watching a man who had been working in the same place for 50 years looking at his watch to see the minute hand move slowly to the day when he could take off his dust jacket and throw his ground down broom finally in the bin, it was almost too much to hope that the Beeb would relent and give a truly meaty end to a consistently good series.

If the end, riding off into the sunset a staple of night time television, was perhaps expected then at least the final case that the current foursome were involved in stood out for its ability to bring to the foreground the people who are marginalised by society’s ignorance of their condition, those with mental health issues, and making what was verging of being perhaps one of the most powerful episodes across the whole 12 years of New Tricks being on the air. It though could only go so far as the end was all too inevitable, the team disbanded, all going their separate ways and with D.C.I. Miller perhaps lamenting not having three more in the team to ride off into the sunshine of London and with all barrels blazing, the magnificent seven led by a feisty and spirited woman, Yul Brynner would not have stood a chance.

A crying shame that the series ended all too soon for in New Tricks there was life still left in the dogs yet.

Ian D. Hall